Have you ever had a phone call or received an email that made you think twice about its legitimacy? Perhaps a threatening tone if you didn’t comply or promises of a monetary prize that you can collect?
All too often we hear of situations where people have been defrauded out of thousands of dollars due to their compliance with the fraudulent caller.
We can help reduce these examples if people are better informed of how to be aware of fraudulent communication and how to avoid being communicated to.
Here are four signs that the caller/emailer may be attempting a fraud:
- He/she may claim to be representing a legitimate business or organization (i.e. government, CRA, utility company, tech company, charity, etc.)
- He/she is likely to indicate that there is an issue that you must address. For example, you owe money to the CRA, you are in trouble with the law, you have a virus on your computer, etc. Or, he/she may indicate that you are the winner of a significant lottery or monetary prize.
- He/she may pressure you to make a decision immediately or act quickly. The fraudster doesn’t want you to have the time to research or look into his/her request. Threatening language may also be used. For example, they may threaten to arrest you or threaten to compromise your computer.
- He/she may request payment in a very specific way. For example, putting funds on a gift card or paying through a money transfer service. They will be very untraditional methods to pay for legitimate services.
If you suspect any of these 4 signs, then I suggest you hang up or request a phone number that you can call back.
Here are some actions that you can take to avoid being put into a potentially fraudulent situation:
- Block phone numbers from unwanted callers or texters.
- Don’t give personal or financial information to someone if it is an unexpected request.
- Don’t click on any links in an email that is unexpected.
- Don’t make decisions quickly nor succumb to any high-pressure tactics.
- Talk to a trusted family member, friend, neighbour, or professional before acting.
Being aware of the signs and doing things to avoid fraudulent activity will help keep you and your loved ones from being victims of fraud.